WHAT IS ECZEMA?
Eczema or “atopic dermatitis” is a common skin condition. It usually begins at 6-12 months of age and decreases in severity as children age. Nevertheless, 1-3% of adults have this. A protein called “filaggrin” is often missing from the skin, allowing fluid to leak out. This allows the skin to dry out and become inflamed. In infants, it commonly appears on the face. In children, the bends of the knees and elbows are typical locations. In adolescents, knees and elbows are commonly affected. At any age, it can occur in other body locations.
WHAT ARE THE SYMPTOMS OF ECZEMA?
- severe itchy skin
- red bumps
- “weepy” skin from fluid leakage
- dry cracked or thickened skin
- inflammation, often from scratching
HOW DO YOU DIAGNOSE THIS?
We take a history and examination. As allergies often cause this, we will skin test to foods and allergens in the air.
HOW DO YOU TREAT THIS?
- moisturizers such as Aveeno, Aquaphor, Eucerin will keep the skin moist and kill
bacteria which can infect the skin
- bathe/shower in cool water, pat dry, apply moisturizers (avoid hot water and rubbing skin dry)
- avoid triggers like humidity, stress, sweat, hot baths, allergens
- apply steroids to the skin only as needed, not daily! Repeated steroid use can damage your skin. In some patients, medicines like Protopic or Eucrisa can prevent an eczema rash. If severe, an injectable medicine called Dupixent is very helpful (but expensive).